ELIZABETH � a Monologue for Christmas

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                                     The Innkeeper‘s Family
                                           By Kathy Applebee


CHARACTERS: One female adult, One adult male, 3 children, ranging in age from 4-9
PROPS: Keep away object
COSTUMES: Biblical
SETTING: None specified
RUN TIME: Approximately 7 minutes


At rise. Children playing keep away with an object.

WIFE: (Offstage voice of innkeeper’s wife.) Boys! Jehosheba! Stop that playing! You‘ll break something
and Jehovah be praised we need every pot, jar, bowl and pitcher we have. (Entering) We haven‘t had this many
customers since ... since the census 11 years age. We‘re filled to overflowing. I won‘t have a moment‘s rest
for the next week. Work, work and more work. But I‘m not complaining. We need the business to keep you
three fed and clothed. Have you done your chores?

Daniel, Did you feed the animals?

DANIEL Yes, I helped father mend the gate. (Husband enters)

HUSBAND: He did and he was very good help indeed.

WIFE: Jehosheba, Did you fill all the jars with water?

JEHOSHEBA: Yes, it took me over 50 trips to the well!

WIFE: Ehud? Did you clean the stable?

EHUD: Yes

WIFE: All of it this time?

EHUD: Yes, mother, all of it.

HUSBAND: Then off to bed. We had to give your room to a family from Jericho so the three of you will
have to sleep in the stable.

ALL: (Ad lib with groaning) The stable! Not the stable.

EHUD: The stable smells.
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                                                                                                                2


HUSBAND: It smells does it? I thought you cleaned it. All of it ?
EHUD: I did! Its just ...

WIFE: That stable was good enough for a king to sleep in so it will do for the three of you.

JEHOSHEBA: Did a king really sleep there or did you and father just make that up?

WIFE: Your father and I are not making it up. A king really slept there. He was born there. On a night every
bit as crowded as this one. Let me tell you, we were so busy I didn‘t sleep for a week. Thank God there is a
Sabbath.

DANIEL: Tell us the story again.

WIFE: (Like they are making a ridiculous request) Do you see all the work your father and I have to do.
Does it look like we have time for stories?

ALL: (Adlibbing, pleading)     Please, please

HUSBAND: I think we have time for one short story before bed.

ALL: Yeah!

WIFE: A story. Maybe I better sit down. (Raising a hand to heaven in a voice resigned to hard work)
Jehovah knows it might be the only rest I get for the next 3 days. If it weren‘t for the Sabbath I would work
myself to death. (Daniel gets a chair, mother sits on chair and children around her.)

HUSBAND: Eleven years ago, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire
Roman world.

WIFE: The Romans, they like to count everything.

HUSBAND: Everyone had to go to his own town to register. So a man named Joseph came from the town of
Nazareth in Galilee because he belonged to the house and line of David. He came to register with Mary, who
was expecting a child. We told them we had no room. But Mary was about to give birth on our doorstep.

WIFE: What could we do? I would have given her our bed but we had already given it to another family.

HUSBAND: I told them they could stay in the stable. In no time at all the baby was born. We wouldn‘t have
thought a lot about it, we were so busy with all the customers!

WIFE: (Loudly protesting all the work) The laundry! The cooking! The cleaning ! Good thing we have a
Sabbath or I would have worn my fingers to the bone during the census. I wouldn‘t have thought another thing
about it except for the shepherds.
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HUSBAND: Your mother and I were trying to rest, not sleep, just rest.

WIFE: Then this knocking on the door, in the middle of the night. Your father yelled ―We‘re full. Go away‖
but they just kept knocking. If we hadn‘t been afraid it was Romans we would not have answered the door.
But it wasn‘t the Romans. It was shepherds.

HUSBAND: They told us they had been watching the sheep when an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and
the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, (Changes to an
“angel voice”) "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in
the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will
find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

HUSBAND: In case they didn‘t understand a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

HUSBAND: When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
(Changes to shepherd voice) "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has
told us about.".

WIFE: (Jehosheba begins tugging on her sleeve) So they went door to door and inn to inn looking for this
baby. And he was here. In out stable. In our manger. Stop tugging. Already. What?

JEHOSHEBA : Aunt Eunice says no king was ever born in a stable. She says those shepherds might have had
wine in their water.

WIFE: (Mock outrage) What does your Aunt Eunice know? She wasn‘t there. I was. You think a Jewish
king born in a stable is unbelievable. What about the Romans? The Romans believe that Romilus and Remas,
(Sarcastically) the founders of the mighty Roman empire (may God deliver us soon from their iron hand) they
believe that Romulous and Remas were raised by a she-wolf. Which is harder to believe? A Jewish king born
in a stable or a Roman emperor raised by wolves. Aunt Eunice wasn‘t there. Back to the story.

HUSBAND: I was a little curious so I went out to the stable with them. Your mother went too,. I thought the
story ... questionable. Unbelievable. Why announce the Messiah to a bunch of shepherds? Why not at the
temple? But there was something about it ... I believed them about the angels, about the baby. Your mother
too. The shepherds told everyone in town. I don‘t know how many of the citizens of Bethleham believed but
most of them came by to see for themselves the next day.

WIFE: Cluttering up the courtyard, the stable, the entire street. I was never so busy. The inn was full and then
all those extra people coming in and going out. The poor mother, Mary was her name, could get no rest. The
comings! The goings! In our stable.

DANIEL: But why would Jehovah want his son, the Messiah, a king of kings to sleep in a hay trough?

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WIFE: Your father may be an innkeeper, not be a rabbi but still he is a wise man. Listen and learn.

HUSBAND: We talked about Moses. God chose a slave child to be raised in Pharaoh‘s palace so he would
know how to lead. Perhaps God decided to have his son raised by poor people so he would know how to
serve.

WIFE: A servant, you may ask? The Messiah – a servant? Yes!

HUSBAND: The prophet Isaiah said he would be. "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in
whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
After the shepherds went back to their flocks we talked with this Joseph. He was a good man, a humble man.
A carpenter. He wondered why God chose him and Mary to raise his son.

WIFE: And not just a king, although raising a king would be a job. But the son of El Shaddai, the son of the
living God.


HUSBAND: Joseph did not know why God picked him. He could have picked any man in all of Israel. Why
not a rabbi? Why not a priest? Why not the high priest himself? Why a carpenter from Nazareth? It is not up
to us to question God. It is up to us to accept and do.

HUSBAND: Joseph was a humble man. He prayed that night. I could tell it was not the first time he prayed
for wisdom to raise the baby they named Jesus. I would imagine it was not the last time either. Raising God‘s
own son would require lots of prayer and hard work. (Thoughtfully, with wonder) God had chosen a simple
man of trade and an ordinary girl. We don‘t ask why. We do as we are told.

WIFE: (Changing voice to one of motherly authority) Speaking of which. You need your rest. There will be
more work tomorrow with all these guests. Off to bed and no more complaining about sleeping in the stable.

ALL (Ad libbing) Yes, mother, good night, father… (Children exit)

WIFE (Contemplating) How could Joseph have seen this: this road to Bethlehem, a stable filled with hay,

HUSBAND: Yes, such a strange way to save the world.




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                                Innkeeper‘s Wife at Christmas
                                                (Full length)
                                           By Kathy Applebee

CHARACTERS: One female adult, 3 children, ranging in age from 4-9
PROPS: Keep away object
COSTUMES: Biblical
SETTING: None specified
RUN TIME: 6 minutes


At rise. Children playing keep away with an object.

WIFE: (Offstage voice of innkeeper’s wife.) Boys! Jehosheba! Stop that playing! You‘ll break something
and Jehovah be praised we need every pot, jar, bowl and pitcher we have. (Entering) We haven‘t had this many
customers since ... since the census 11 years age. We‘re filled to overflowing. I won‘t have a moment‘s rest
for the next week. Work, work and more work. But I‘m not complaining. We need the business to keep you
three fed and clothed. Have you done your chores?

Daniel, Did you feed the animals?

DANIEL Yes, helped father mend the gate.

WIFE: Jehosheba, Did you fill all the jars with water?

JEHOSHEBA: Yes, it took me over 50 trips to the well!

WIFE: Ehud? Did you clean the stable?

EHUD: Yes

WIFE: All of it this time?

EHUD: Yes, mother, all of it.

WIFE: Then off to bed. We had to give your room to a family from Jericho so the three of you will have to
sleep in the stable.

ALL: (Ad lib with groaning) The stable! Not the stable.

EHUD: The stable smells.


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                                                                                                                  6

WIFE: It smells does it? I thought you cleaned it. All of it ?

EHUD: I did! Its just ...

WIFE: That stable was good enough for a king to sleep in so it will do for the three of you.

JEHOSHEBA: Did a king really sleep there or did you and father just make that up?

WIFE: Your father and I are not making it up. A king really slept there. He was born there. On a night every
bit as crowded as this one. Let me tell you, we were so busy I didn‘t sleep for a week. Thank God there is a
Sabbath.

DANIEL: Tell us the story again, mother.

WIFE: (Like they are making a ridiculous request) Do you see all the work I have to do. Does it look like I
have time for stories?

ALL: (Adlibbing, pleading)     Please, please

WIFE: A story. Maybe I better sit down and tell you the story again. (Raising a hand to heaven in a voice
resigned to hard work) Jehovah knows it might be the only rest I get for the next 3 days. If it weren‘t for the
Sabbath I would work myself to death. (Daniel gets a chair, mother sits on chair and children around her.)

Eleven years ago, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
The Romans, they like to count everything. And everyone went to his own town to register.

So a man named Joseph came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee because he belonged to the house and line
of David. He came to register with Mary, who was expecting a child. We told them we had no room. But
Mary was about to give birth on our doorstep. What could I do? I would have given her our bed but we had
already given it to another family. Your father said they could stay in the stable.

In no time at all the baby was born. I wouldn‘t have thought a lot about it, we were so busy with all the
customers! (Loudly protesting all the work) The laundry! The cooking! The cleaning ! Good thing we have
a Sabbath or I would have worn my fingers to the bone during the census. I wouldn‘t have thought another
thing about it except for the shepherds.

Your father and I were trying to rest, not sleep, just rest. Knocking on the door, in the middle of the night.
Your father yelled ―We‘re full. Go away‖ but they just kept knocking. If we hadn‘t been afraid it was
Romans we would not have answered the door. But it wasn‘t the Romans. It was shepherds. They told us
they had been watching the sheep when an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone
around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, (Changes to an “angel voice”) "Do not be
afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior
has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths
and lying in a manger."
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                                                                                                                7


In case they didn‘t get it a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and
saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, (Changes to shepherd
voice) "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.".
(Jehosheba begins tugging on her sleeve) So they went door to door and inn to inn looking for this baby. And
he was here. In out stable. In our manger. Stop tugging. Already. What?

JEHOSHEBA : Aunt Eunice says no king was ever born in a stable. She says those shepherds might have had
wine in their water.

WIFE: (Mock outrage) What does your Aunt Eunice know? She wasn‘t there. I was. You think a Jewish
king born in a stable is unbelievable. What about the Romans? The Romans believe that Romilus and Remas,
(Sarcastically) the founders of the mighty Roman empire (may God deliver us soon from their iron hand) they
believe that Romulous and Remas were raised by a she-wolf. Which is harder to believe? A Jewish king born
in a stable or a Roman emperor raised by wolves. Aunt Eunice wasn‘t there. Back to the story.

I was a little curious so I went out to the stable with them. Your father went too, he thought the story ...
questionable. Unbelievable. Why announce the Messiah to a bunch of shepherds? Why not at the temple?
But there was something about it ... I believed them about the angels, about the baby. Your father too. The
shepherds told everyone in town. I don‘t know how many of the citizens of Bethleham believed but most of
them came by to see for themselves the next day. Cluttering up the courtyard, the stable, the entire street. I was
never so busy. The inn was full and then all those extra people coming in and going out. The poor mother,
Mary was her name, could get no rest. The comings! The goings! In our stable.

DANIEL: But why would Jehovah want his son, the Messiah, a king of kings to sleep in a hay trough?

WIFE: Funny you should ask. Joseph asked himself that same question that night. We talked, mostly your
father. He may be an innkeeper, not a rabbi, but still he is a wise man. We talked about Moses. God chose a
slave child to be raised in Pharaoh‘s palace so he would know how to lead. Perhaps God decided to have his
son raised by poor people so he would know how to serve.

A servant, you may ask? The Messiah – a servant? Yes! The prophet Isaiah said he would be. "Here is my
servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice
to the nations.

After the shepherds went back to their flocks we talked with this Joseph. He was a good man, a humble man.
A carpenter. He wondered why God chose him and Mary to raise his son. And not just a king, although
raising a king would be a job. But the son of El Shaddai, the son of the living God. Joseph did not know why
God picked him. He could have picked any man in all of Israel. Why not a rabbi? Why not a priest? Why not
the high priest himself? Why a carpenter from Nazareth? It is not up to us to question God. It is up to us to
accept and do.

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Joseph was a humble man. He prayed that night. I could tell it was not the first time he prayed for wisdom to
raise the baby they named Jesus. I would imagine it was not the last time either. Raising God‘s own son
would require lots of prayer and hard work. (Thoughtfully, with wonder) God had chosen a simple man of
trade and an ordinary girl. We don‘t ask why. We do as we are told. (Changing voice to one of motherly
authority) Speaking of which. You need your rest. There will be more work tomorrow with all these guests.
Off to bed and no more complaining about sleeping in the stable.

ALL (Ad libbing) Yes, mother, good night… (Children exit)

WIFE (Contemplating to God) How could Joseph have seen this: this road to Bethlehem, a stable filled with
hay, such a strange way to save the world.




                             The Innkeeper‘s Wife at Christmas
                                           (Condensed version)
                                            By Kathy Applebee
CHARACTERS: One female adult, 3 children
PROPS: Keep away object
COSTUMES: Biblical
SETTING: None specified
RUN TIME: 5 minutes


At rise. Children playing keep away with an object.

WIFE: (Offstage voice of innkeeper’s wife.) Boys! Jehosheba! Stop that playing! You‘ll break something
and Jehovah be praised we need every pot, jar, bowl and pitcher we have. (Entering) We haven‘t had this many
customers since ... since the census 11 years age. We‘re filled to overflowing. I won‘t have a moment‘s rest
for the next week. Work, work and more work. But I‘m not complaining. We need the business to keep you
three fed and clothed. Have you done your chores?

Daniel, Did you feed the animals?

DANIEL Yes, helped father mend the gate.

WIFE: Jehosheba, Did you fill all the jars with water?

JEHOSHEBA: Yes, it took me over 50 trips to the well!

WIFE: Ehud? Did you clean the stable?

                                                                                                                8
                                                                                                                  9

EHUD: Yes

WIFE: All of it this time?

EHUD: Yes, mother, all of it.

WIFE: Then off to bed. We had to give your room to a family from Jericho so the three of you will have to
sleep in the stable.

ALL: (Ad lib with groaning) The stable! Not the stable.

EHUD: The stable smells.

WIFE: It smells does it? I thought you cleaned it. All of it ?

EHUD: I did! Its just ...

WIFE: That stable was good enough for a king to sleep in so it will do for the three of you.

JEHOSHEBA: Did a king really sleep there or did you and father just make that up?

WIFE: Your father and I are not making it up. A king really slept there. He was born there. On a night every
bit as crowded as this one. Let me tell you, we were so busy I didn‘t sleep for a week. Thank God there is a
Sabbath.

DANIEL: Tell us the story again, mother.

WIFE: (Like they are making a ridiculous request) Do you see all the work I have to do. Does it look like I
have time for stories?

ALL: (Adlibbing, pleading)      Please, please

WIFE: A story. Maybe I better sit down and tell you the story again. (Raising a hand to heaven in a voice
resigned to hard work) Jehovah knows it might be the only rest I get for the next 3 days. If it weren‘t for the
Sabbath I would work myself to death. (Daniel gets a chair, mother sits on chair and children around her.)

Eleven years ago, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
The Romans, they like to count everything. And everyone had to go to his own town to register.

So a man named Joseph came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee because he belonged to the house and line
of David. He came to register with Mary, who was expecting a child. We told them we had no room. But
Mary was about to give birth on our doorstep. What could I do? I would have given her our bed but it was
already taken by a Roman centurion. Your father said they could stay in the stable.

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                                                                                                              10

In no time at all the baby was born. I wouldn‘t have thought a lot about it, we were so busy with all the
customers! The laundry! The cooking! The cleaning ! I wouldn‘t have thought another thing about it except
for the shepherds.

Your father and I were trying to rest, not sleep, just rest. Knocking on the door, in the middle of the night.
Your father yelled ―we‘re full. Go away‖ but they just kept knocking. If we hadn‘t been afraid it was Romans
we would not have answered the door. But it wasn‘t the Romans. It was Eli and his sons and brother Uzziah.
They told us they had been watching their sheep when an angel of the Lord appeared to them and said, " Christ
the Lord will be found as a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger in Bethlehem" So they went door to
door and inn to inn looking for this baby. And he was here. In our stable. In our manger. Stop tugging.
Already. What?

JEHOSHEBA: Aunt Eunice says no king was ever born in a stable

WIFE: (With mock outrage) What does your Aunt Eunice know? She wasn‘t there. I was. You think a Jewish
king born in a stable is unbelievable. What about the Romans? The Romans believe that Romulus and Remas,
(Sarcastically) the founders of the mighty Roman empire (may God deliver us soon from their iron hand) they
believe that Romulus and Remas were raised by a she-wolf. (Ehud begins tugging on her sleeve) Which is
harder to believe? A Jewish king born in a stable or a Roman emperor raised by wolves. Aunt Eunice wasn‘t
there. I was.. Ehud, what is it?

EHUD: But why would Jehovah want his son, the Messiah, a king of kings to sleep in a hay trough?

WIFE: Funny you should ask. Joseph asked himself that same question that night. He wondered why God
chose him and Mary to raise his son. And not just a king, although raising a king would be a job. But the son
of El Shaddai, the son of the living God. Jehovah could have picked any man in all of Israel. Why not a
rabbi? Why not a priest? Why not the high priest himself? Why a carpenter from Nazareth?

Your father may be an innkeeper, not a rabbi, but still he is a wise man. They talked about Moses. God chose
a slave child to be raised in Pharaoh‘s palace so he would know how to lead. Perhaps God decided to have his
son raised by poor people so he would know how to serve.

A servant, you may ask? The Messiah – a servant? Yes! The prophet Isaiah said he would be. "Here is my
servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice
to the nations.

Joseph was a humble man, a good man, an ordinary carpenter. He prayed that night. I could tell it was not
the first time he prayed for wisdom to raise the baby they named Jesus. I would imagine it was not the last
time either. Raising God‘s own son would require much prayer . God had chosen a simple man of trade and
an ordinary girl. We don‘t ask why. We do the tasks God sets before us. (Changing to a mother’s voice of
authority) Speaking of tasks. There will be more work tomorrow with all these guests so you need your rest.
Off to bed and no more complaining about sleeping in the stable.

ALL: Yes, mother, good night… (Children exit)
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WIFE: (With contemplation, to God) Your plan, Oh God.   This road to Bethlehem, a stable filled with hay,
such a strange way to save the world.




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                                                      ELIZABETH
                                                    By Kathy Applebee
CHARACTERS: 1 F
PROPS: baby, cradle
COSTUMES: Biblical
SETTING: None specified

(Woman enters carrying a baby, she speaks softly and tenderly when talking to the baby, almost in awe) John, child of my old age.
Sleep well tonight. (places baby in cradle). Until you came I was barren. (remembering with pain) A curse and shame to any
Israelite woman. I understood when Rachel cried out to her husband – give me children or I die. Like Hannah, I was loved by my
husband, but that could not fill the empty, aching void within my heart.

(mood lightens) The day your father, Zachariah came home from serving at the temple he could not speak. Still he managed to tell
me he had spoken with the angel Gabriel, that we would have a son, us in our old age. He said our son was to be dedicated to God
even from my womb. (looking at the baby) You, John, would turn many of our people back to God. Our son would come in the spirit
and power of Elijah.

I laughed – not like Sarah, in disbelief, but for joy and knowing that if God ordained it, he would make a way. I spent my months in
seclusion, praying and meditating on how we should bring you up. Then Mary, my young relative came.

She should have been home, preparing to be married. She had just been betrothed to Joseph. When she walked through the door, you
gave me such a kick. It was as though you spoke, "Mother, what good is it for you to bear Messiah's forerunner unless someone else
bears Messiah?" (joyfully) The realization broke on me like a wave of the sea and washed over me, bringing chills of joy. Mary's
baby was the Messiah!

We laughed and cried together. (remembering with laughter) I thought your father would burst from not being able to speak. I‘m
sure he wanted to compare notes with Mary about Gabriel‘s visits.

She returned home and in due course I had you. I am a doubly blessed woman – blessed with a son of my own and blessed to be
alive when the Messiah will come. The Messiah – the hope and consolation of Israel. The counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God.
How wondrous. (picking up baby from cradle) Mary‘s time is close. The Messiah could come at any time (pause to cradle child
closer) Maybe even tonight.




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                                                                                                        13


                                     Elizabeth and Zechariah
                                              By Kathy Applebee
CHARACTERS: 1 M, 1 F
COSTUMES: Biblical
PROPS: Baby
SETTING: Israel, just before Christ is born


    AT: Rise. A room in a Jewish home. A cradle is the central feature with a stool beside it.
    Elizabeth enters carrying a baby.

    ELIZ: John, child of my old age. Sleep well tonight. (Places baby in cradle). Until you came,
    my life was one of longing and emptiness (She sits on the stool. Remembering the shame and
    heartbreak) I understood when Rachel cried out to her husband – give me children or I die.
    (Zechariah enters) But now, like it was with Sarah it is with me, a child born to me in my old
    age. It is a time of gladness!

    ZECHARIAH: (Laughing, playfully) Elizabeth, it is time to let our son get some rest.

    ELIZ: Yes, he has quite a task set before him. Tell me again what the scriptures say.

    ZECHARIAH: (Quoting) And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to
    turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the
    righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Many of the people of Israel will he
    bring back to the Lord their God. (Pause) He will be great in the sight of the Lord.

    ELIZ: (Smiling) Yes, in time he will be. But he is such a tiny thing now. (With pride) Our
    John, our joy and delight. As Gabriel said, many will rejoice because of his birth. And they did.
    This house was filled to overflowing with singing and praises to God. And you made up a song.
    Sing it for me. (Zechariah shakes his head “No”) Then at least repeat the words. (Zechariah
    starts to decline.Mischievously) You never know when an angel may take the power of speech
    from you again.

    ZECHARIAH: (Chuckles.) Very well. (Zechariah pauses to collect his thoughts. He speaks to
    God using a commanding voice, yet not loud enough to disturb the baby. Elizabeth keeps one
    hand on the baby but her eyes never leave her husband as he speaks. She nods in affirmation of
    the words)
     ."Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
        because he has come and has redeemed his people.
     He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
        in the house of his servant David
     (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
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                                                                                                  14


salvation from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
    and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Zechariah pauses, steps closer to the cradle and places one hand upon the baby

 And you, my child, (Elizabeth begins smiling broadly and steals a glimpse or two at John) will
be called a prophet of the Most High;
     for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
     through the forgiveness of their sins,
 because of the tender mercy of our God,
     by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness
     and in the shadow of death,
  to guide our feet into the path of peace."

ELIZ: We have a son, one ordained by El Shaddai himself! But I fear it will not be so easy with
Mary. Her time must be at hand and with her having to travel to Bethlehem for the census…. If
John were older I‘d suggest we go meet them ourselves.

ZECHARIAH: (Face becomes clouded) She is young, Elizabeth. God is with her.

ELIZ: But the place is crowded with not only those registering from the house of David but also
all the Romans. The Romans are not kind to us Jews.

ZECHARIAH: I do not fear the Romans in this instance but King Herod himself. Herod never
hesitated to put anyone, including his own family, to death when they threatened his throne. If
word gets out of a Messiah – a future, rival king – Herod might act violently to protect his
throne.

ELIZABETH: Yes, Herod might do that. He had his brother in law the high priest killed.

ZECHARIAH: And we both know who it is Herod will find and where he will be found.

ELIZ: (Concerned) Then Mary, Joseph and the baby will all be at risk. (With dawning horror)
Do you think that puts our John in danger?

ZECHARIAH: (Far away) It could. (Snaps back to the present) My time of service is over at
the temple. Rather than stay here I thought we might move into a quiet place in the desert….



                                               14
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ELIZ: (Quietly, no opposition evident in her voice) Move? Away from out home? Our families?
Before seeing Mary‘s child?

ZECHARIAH: Yes. I think we might endanger them by even visiting them. Everyone knows
what a miracle John is.

ELIZ: When?

ZECHARIAH: I feel we must do so right away, Elizabeth, if you think you have gained enough
strength.

ELIZ: God has given me a son in my old age. He will give me whatever strength I lack. (Not
whiny, matter-of-fact) But Zachariah, its lonely and harsh in the desert. It‘s not a hospitable
place.

ZECHARIAH: Exactly. A perfect place to raise our only son, Elizabeth. If Herod comes looking
for the Messiah it will not be to worship him. I fear for our son‘s safety. We did not wait all
these years to see harm come to him.

ELIZ: Of course we did not. Our son has a vital mission and no sacrifice is too great to see that
he fulfills his destiny.

ZECHARIAH: Moses, young David spent years in the wilderness. And Elijah. Elijah hid from
Ahab in the desert.

ELIZ: (Almost dreamy) Yes, Elijah. (In the present) And our John will come in the spirit and
power of Elijah

ZECHARIAH: We waited for years for him to be born. A few more years and Herod will be
dead. Is that too much?

ELIZ: No, nothing is too much. (Resolutely) Nothing is too much for either our son or our God.
I‘ll start to gather a few things. (She rises, gives John a lingering caress and exits. Zachariah
smoothes the hair on John’s head tenderly then looks upward)

ZECHARIAH: Thank you for John. Lord, make us the kind of parents he needs, ones who will
bring him up in the nurture and admonition of your name. And we ask that you be with Mary
and Joseph as you are with your son. Your son who was with you from the beginning, by whom
all things were created. Who is coming now in a body of flesh and blood. (Drops his head to
gaze at John)

(Toward the audience but not at the audience) The Messiah – the hope and consolation of Israel.
The counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God. (With awe) How wondrous. (Picking up baby from
cradle and looking at him intently) Our Messiah will be here soon. (Pause to cradle child
closer) Maybe even tonight. (Zechariah bows his head until it gently rests against the John’s
tiny forehead)


                                                15
     16




16
                                                                                                                          17



                                            Dateline: Bethlehem
                                           Reactions to Jesus Birth
                                                   By Kathy Applebee

      CHARACTERS: 9 M, 3F, 3 either; doubling possible
      COSTUMES: Biblical and modern day
      PROPS: see script
      SETTING: TV studio
      RUN TIME: 22 minutes




                                                   Cast (doubling possible)
                   TV Host                            Antonius, a centurion                          Joseph
                   Reporter                            Josiah, a shepherd                         General Joab
                  Reporter 2                         Ben, a young shepherd                           Herod
                  Gamaliel                          Ben‘s friend, non speaking                  Woman from the East
                    Anna                                       Mary                                 Simeon



Stage is split into two, each part with separate lighting. Scenes alternate between live interviews by a reporter being “played”
as clips and a studio where three commentators are seated behind a table or on stools to be interviewed by the TV Host.
Lights illuminate only the portion of the stage where action is taking place. Actors in opposite scene remain frozen during the
other scene and come back to life when the light is on them.

                                                      Scene 1: The Panel
TV HOST: Tonight we bring some commentary on the events in the capital district. With us we have Gamaliel, a teacher of
Jewish law, a man well respected for his learning. Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She‘ll be commenting from
a woman‘s perspective on these events. Lastly we have Antonius, a Roman centurion and right hand man of Quirinius, the
governor of Syria. He‘ll be commenting from an outsider‘s point of view on this matter.
First we‘d like to show some clips of past news broadcasts covering the events.




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                                                      Scene 2: Shepherds
REPORTER: Viewers, we are live in Bethlehem bringing you breaking news of a savior‘s birth. I‘m here with Josiah. Josiah,
you work in the area, right. (Behind Josiah and the reporter and 2 child shepherds, waving into the camera and trying to
insert themselves into the scene.)
JOSIAH: Yes, I‘m a shepherd. I keep watch over the temple flocks.
REPORTER: How did you find out about the baby?
JOSIAH: An angel of the Lord appeared to us. There was a light like the glory of the Lord

REPORTER: Have you ever seen the glory of the Lord?

JOSIAH: No but I imagine this was it with the angels and all.

REPORTER: What did the angel say?

JOSIAH: Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a
Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord

REPORTER: And by town of David he meant….?

JOSIAH: Bethlehem. It was always known as David‘s town. Then the angel said ‗This will be a sign to you: You will find a
baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger‘

REPORTER: A manger? A feed bin for animals?

JOSIAH: Didn‘t you think that odd – the Savior of the world lying in a feed trough?

JOSIAH:: I was just overwhelmed by the whole thing and didn‘t really analyze it at the time. I mean, first we were terrified
with the appearance of the angel – oh, and there was an entire host of angels backing him. A huge number.

REPORTER: How did you feel? What thoughts were going through your mind?

JOSIAH: As I said, first terrified, then I just wanted to praise God right along with the angels. They were saying "Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
REPORTER: Are the angels still out there singing?

JOSIAH: No they went back to heaven. So I suggested we go to Bethlehem and see this thing that had happened, which the
Lord had told us about.

REPORTER: (turning to the kids finally. They become tongue tied and camera shy) Let me get a comment here. What‘s your
name?

BEN: (deer caught in the headlights) Benjamin.

REPORTER: What happened when you got to the stable?

BEN: Um… I didn‘t go. I had to stay with the sheep.

REPORTER: OK Josiah, what happened at the stable?

JOSIAH: We hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby just like the angel said. After paying our respects we went

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to friends in town and told them the good news.

REPORTER: How did they react?

JOSIAH: Amazed. We have been looking so long for a Messiah…

REPORTER: So your fear turned into praise?

JOSIAH: Yes.

REPORTER: Thank you. I see the baby‘s mother, Mary, is available for an interview. Let‘s just pop over there.   (Lights out.
Shepherds exit and Mary and Joseph get in place)




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                                            Scene 3: Comments of the Shepherds
TV HOST: Gamaliel, what do you see in the shepherds reaction to the news of Jesus‘ birth?
GAMALIEL: Fear is only natural, at first, but when they hear the news it quickly turned into praise. That in turn led to
witnessing to others.
TV HOST: No one likes to keep good news to themselves.
GAMALIEL: Here were some men, who by the very nature of their work were hardly able to keep to the laws of Moses
regarding ceremonial washing and all. Yet, when the news came, they praised God and shared it with others.
TV HOST: Don‘t you think it rather odd that the news didn‘t come to the religious leaders first.
GAMALIEL: Yes and no. Shepherds have always been close to God‘s heart. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all shepherds.
God trained Moses to lead with a 40 year stint as a shepherd. But the most famous shepherd, David, was not only a man after
God‘s own heart but he was the shepherd king and forefather of the Messiah.
TV HOST: So you see some historical reasoning for shepherds to hear the news first.
GAMALIEL: Yes. I do.
TV HOST: Let‘s move to the next segment of this first broadcast, where Mary and Joseph, the parents of the baby, are
interviewed. (GAMALIEL waves A over and speaks quietly off camera and mic) I stand corrected on a technicality – the
mother of the baby and her husband.




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                                                  Scene 4: Mary and Joseph

REPORTER: Ma‘am. Congratulations.

MARY: Thank you.

REPORTER: How does it feel to be the mother of the savior of the world?

MARY: I‘m treasuring every moment.

REPORTER: Here‘s the father now. Why are you in a stable with the Savior of the World?

JOSEPH: I‘m not the baby‘s father. I‘m just Mary‘s husband.

REPORTER: Who is the father?

JOSEPH: God. Like Isaiah prophesied, a virgin shall conceive.

REPORTER: That‘s impossible.

MARY: Nothing is impossible with God.

REPORTER: So you are claiming this child is half mortal and half divine?

JOSEPH: No, Jesus is 100% God and 100% man.

REPORTER: Do you think people are going to buy this story?

JOSEPH: To be honest I didn‘t buy it until an angel visited me. I had intended to divorce Mary quietly. But after talking to the
angel I reconsidered. The angel said not to be afraid to take her as my wife. We were to name the baby Jesus because he would
save the people from their sins. He‘d be called Immanuel or ―God with us.‖

REPORTER: So why a stable?

JOSEPH: There was no room in the inn.

REPORTER: (fiddling with ear piece.) I think we‘re going to cut to the palace and an interview with one of King Herod‘s
people.




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                                        Scene 5: Commentary Mary and Joseph
TV HOST: Let‘s start with you, Anna. You actually met Mary, is that correct?
ANNA: Yes. They brought Jesus to the temple on the 8 th day of his birth for circumscion.
TV HOST: How did you happen to be in the right place at the right time?
ANNA: I‘m an 84 year old a prophetess that lives in the temple. I spend my days and nights
worshipping, praying and fasting. Being a widow for these past years I can do that.
TV HOST: As a woman, how do you see Mary?
ANNA: I see a woman full of faith. She had the most to lose here. She not only was in a position as an
unwed mother to lose the respect of her family, friends, the community. She could have lost her betrothed
husband and had nothing.
GAMALIEL: You see under Jewish law Joseph had the right not only to divorce her. He could have had
her brought up on charges that would have led to her being stoned to death as an adulterer.
TV HOST: Do you think she had second thoughts during her pregnancy?
ANNA: It is hard to say but I doubt it. God had confirmed to her all he said not just with the angel
Gabriel‘s visit but also with words from her own relative – Elizabeth. Now Elizabeth wasn‘t as old as I
am but she was well past her child bearing years. An angel visits her husband, promising a baby. She
becomes pregnant. The baby inside her leaps for joy when Mary enters.
GAMALIEL: Throughout our Jewish history barren and even elderly women having children was a sign
of great things. Sarah was 90 when she had Isaac. Rebekkah, Isaac‘s wife, was barren for years as was
Jacob‘s wife, Rachel. Samuel and Samson, two outstanding judges had been born to childless women.
ANTONIUS: Even to an outsider, Elizabeth‘s pregnancy is worth note.
TV HOST: What about Joseph, what do you see happening in his mind?
ANTONIUS: From the viewpoint of an outsider, I see a man of action who does what needs to be done
even if it doesn‘t go along with popular opinion. In that regard he reminds me a bit of our Caesar. Julius
Caesar had no male heirs so he adopted one and did all he could to see that heir succeed.
GAMALIEL: I see that the word of God leads to reconsideration. King David had in mind to build the
temple. But when the word of God came to him through Nathan the prophet that he was NOT to build the
temple, he submitted to God‘s will. Here we have Joseph, a direct descendent of David, doing the same
thing.
TV HOST: How so.
GAMALIEL: He had in mind to put Mary aside but reconsidered when the word of the Lord came to him
through the angel Gabriel.


                                                             22
                                                                                                     23

ANNA: He had a servant‘s heart, just like Mary. You have to remember Mary‘s words to the Angel: ―I
am the Lord‘s servant. May it be to me as you have said." Mary‘s submissive faith led to trust.
TV HOST: Let‘s watch another clip of Herod‘s reaction to the news




                                                  23
                                                                                                                              24




                                                        Scene 6: Herod

REPORTER 2: I‘m live at King Herod‘s palace with General Joab. General, how‘s the king taking the news?

JOAB: Not well, I‘m afraid. He‘s pretty jealous of his throne.

REPORTER 2: I remember back when he suspected some family members were vying for power. Didn‘t he have some of
them executed?

JOAB: Yes. King Herod will not tolerate treason. He… (HEROD bursts into the scene, shoves JOAB out of the way and
grabs the mic)

HEROD: (Emotional and forceful) This is your king. If any of you know where this baby is, report it to me immediately.
(Starting to catch himself and school his emotions, gets syrupy sweet) That‘s because I too want to worship him.

REPORTER 2: You aren‘t concerned that this Jesus could be a rival king?

HEROD: (lying through his teeth) Of course not. I am secure in my wealth and power, in my luxurious lifestyle. (getting
firmer) I‘m in control her and intend to stay in control. So if any of you viewers have any information on this baby, drop by the
palace. You will be richly rewarded. (getting a bit harsh) And if you happen to see some strange Magi types from the east, I‘d
like information on them as well. (Hands back the mic and stomps off dragging Joab behind him)




                                                                 24
                                                                                                          25




                                        Scene 7: Commentary on Herod

TV HOST: Let‘s start with you, Antonius. What do you see happening here?
.ANTONIUS: A man afraid of losing his throne. His reaction when the Magi failed to return show us how
deep his fear ran.
ANNA: (with heartfelt sympathy) The slaughter of all those innocent babies.
ANTONIUS: He didn‘t just kill newborns. His orders included those up to two years of age.
TV HOST: Any speculation why?
ANTONIUS: Obviously he didn‘t want to take any chances. He did know the exact time of the star‘s
appearance. Now this is just my speculation, but I think he might have been trying to eliminate the child of
Zechariah and Elizabeth as well.
TV HOST: Did he even know of this child?
GAMALIEL: Probably. Jesus and John were born within months of each other and the news of a priest
having a baby at his and his wife‘s advanced ages would be news. As I said, throughout Israel‘s history
the children of barren women had been movers and shakers.
TV HOST: So people might be anticipating this child to do something out of the ordinary.
GAMALIEL: Herod called together those of us who were teachers of the law and the chief priests. The
subject could have come up. After all, Zechariah‘s inability to speak for all those months coupled with the
unusual naming of the child kept the child a subject of speculation.
TV HOST: What do you mean about the naming?
GAMALIEL: John was still speechless at the child‘s naming. Elizabeth was insisting he be called John,
despite everyone discouraging it since they had no relatives by that name. Elizabeth insisted and
Zechariah finally wrote ―His name id John‖. Boom. John can speak. Everyone there remembers that
ceremony.
TV HOST: So why would Herod want John executed?
GAMALIEL: It‘s just speculation but Herod may have been thinking killing them both made his throne
more secure.
ANTONIUS: Herod was all about self security. If you notice, Herod pretended to want to worship the
child. He met with the Magi secretly to ask what time the star appeared. I think we can see by his actions
that self centeredness leads to death.

                                                    25
                                                                                                                                 26

GAMALIEL: Self centeredness leads to sin, from a religious standpoint.
TV HOST: I think we can agree that selfishness is never a positive trait. Next we‘re going to play a clip we filmed in secret.
The woman is veiled to hide her identity for reasons that will become apparent.




                                                               26
                                                                                                                      27




                                              Scene 8: Woman from the East



REPORTER: I understand you have agreed to speak on behalf of your group only if you can remain anonymous. Do you fear
for your life?

WOMAN: (She sounds mysterious and foreign) No. Not my life. The life of another who is destined to change history. The
one foretold.

REPORTER: Tell us what you can about yourself.

WOMAN: I am the wife of a servant of Magi from the east. Our caravan has been following a star.

REPORTER: And the star was leading you to….

WOMAN: The King of the Jews.

REPORTER: King Herod?

WOMAN: No, one far more important than that fox. We came to worship The King of Kings. To bring him our gifts of gold,
frankincense and myrrh.

REPORTER: Did you find this King.

WOMAN: Yes. But that is all I can say. The dream forbids more.

REPORTER: What dream? (WOMAN raises her hand to indicate the interview is over. She draws her veil to make sure her
features are concealed)




                                                            27
                                                                                                          28


                                 Scene 9: Commentary on Woman from the East

TV HOST: The clip is short but give me your impressions. Anna?
ANNA: They traveled hundreds of miles in difficult conditions to worship. I have it easy, living in the
temple, but they showed true dedication to worship.
TV HOST: What I‘m wondering is how did these astrologers know a star would lead them to the King of
Kings?
GAMALIEL: This is pure speculation but I suspect they were descendents of either Daniel or people in
Babylon and Persia who worked with him. Daniel was a supervisor who had proven himself and his God
superior to theirs time and again.
ANNA: Daniel also had been given visions of the coming times.
GAMALIEL: We‘ll never know but he might have given orders to watch for signs that were passed down
and heeded because of his prominent position as a wise man in two separate empires.
ANTONIUS: The legacy of a man like that could affect generations.
TV HOST: As an outsider as the Easterners were Antonius, what do you notice?
ANTONIUS: They defied King Herod by returning home another way. As foreigners they could have
been in some trouble defying a king on his turf had they been caught. They showed great courage.
TV HOST: Wouldn‘t they have stuck out like sore thumbs and been easy to trace?
ANTONIUS: My governor, Quirinius, had called for a census of the entire Roman world. The place was
pretty crowded with people from all over returning to their home towns to register.
ANNA: Plus they were wealthy and wise men. They could have easily arranged for disguises, decoys.
TV HOST: There was some talk about them being warned in a dream as well. Gamaliel?
GAMALIEL: I see another parallel with David. Just a short diversion, if I may?
TV HOST: Alright, but we have one more clip I want to get in and have comments on. Make it short.
GAMALIEL: David was told to build an altar on another man‘s property to worship God and stop a
deadly plague. When the owner offered it to him for free, David refused, saying he would not give an
offering that cost him nothing.
TV HOST: And how does this tie in with the Magi from the East?
GAMALIEL: Worship leads to giving. They came not as spectator‘s wanting to view history as it
unfolded but as worshippers who wanted to give. It is hard to express love without giving.
                                                    28
                                                                                                          29

ANNA: They gave of their material wealth, which was needed. Mary and Joseph were broke when they
came to the temple. All they could afford were two birds, the poor man‘s sacrifice. God may have
provided the means for their escape and support through these Gentiles. But more than the costly gifts we
have to bear in mind they gave also a part of themselves because they risked their lives defying Herod.
ANTONIUS: This is true even in Roman culture. Those who worship with words only are at the lowest
echelon. Those who give of their possessions are higher up. But it is those who give of their means and
their own lives we prize most highly in the republic.
GAMALIEL: I would agree with that. True worship leads to giving of ones means and self.
TV HOST: Let‘s quickly move to the clip of Simeon in the temple.




                                                   29
                                                                                                                          30




                                                     Scene 10: Simeon

REPORTER: Simeon, you were one of the first to react to the Christ child in a public religious forum. How did you come to see
him?

SIMEON: I had been told by the Holy Spirit that I would not die before I had seen the Lord's Christ.
That hope clung to me like a weed to the soil. That day I was moved by the Spirit to go into the temple
courts. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, I knew
my hope had come.
REPORTER: What did you do?
SIMEON: I took Jesus in my arms and praised God, saying:
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
  which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
    and for glory to your people Israel."
REPORTER: How did his parents react?
SIMEON: They marveled at what was said about him. I blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This
child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken
against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
REPORTER: Can you elaborate on that last statement?
SIMEON: The Messiah is to be a suffering servant. His mother will suffer because he does.




                                                             30
                                                                                                        31




                                              Scene 11: Final Commentary
TV HOST: His mother will suffer as he does. That‘s what Simeon said. Anna, what do you think that
means?
ANNA: A mother‘s heart is bound closely to that of her children.
TV HOST: Antonius, as a Gentile, comment on the reference to Gentiles.
ANTONIUS: The Jews are quite blatant about excluding all non-Jews. The fact that Simeon includes
Gentiles shows that this Jesus is someone unique, able to transcend racial and cultural differences.
TV HOST: Gamaliel?
GAMALIEL: I think we see here that hope leads to fulfillment. We all have hopes for the future. When
our hopes are grounded in the word of God we can count on them to be fulfilled.
TV HOST: Our time is almost over. From Simeon‘s reaction we see that hope leads to fulfillment. Let
me let each of you make a couple of last comments on what people‘s reactions to the birth of Christ
teaches us. Ladies first.
ANNA: Mary teaches us that faith leads to trust. Joseph teaches us that God‘s word leads to
reconsideration.
ANTONIUS: Herod‘s reaction teachers us that self centeredness leads to sin and death.
GAMALIEL: The shepherds teach that praise leads to witnessing and the Magi that worship leads to
giving.
TV HOST: Thank you all for being on today‘s show. And we thank you viewers for tuning in. God bless
and Good night.


                              More royalty free Christian Drama skits can be found at my
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Mary and Elizabeth rags to riches

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